BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced the release of the year-two progress report for ReiMAgine Aging, the Age-Friendly Massachusetts action plan, which serves as the state’s multi-year plan to make the Commonwealth more age- and dementia-friendly. Elizabeth Chen, secretary of the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, submitted the report at a virtual event to AARP Massachusetts State Director Mike Festa with communities and organizations engaged in the age- and dementia-friendly movement in attendance.
The virtual celebration was held to recognize May as Older Americans Month, release the year-two progress report, and highlight work in communities across the Commonwealth. At the event, community leaders spoke about their work in the age- and dementia- friendly movement, and partner organizations presented highlights from the progress report. The full report can be found here.
This past year, communities were a locus for innovation, with local organizations, residents, and volunteers pivoting to support older adults and communities in an unprecedented fashion. The report includes examples from all corners of the Commonwealth and represents a fraction of the many accomplishments that took place in 2020.
“Throughout the COVID-19 public-health emergency, we witnessed the resilience of communities,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “Over the past year, organizations and individuals from across Massachusetts have stepped up to confront the pandemic and care for each other. This was especially meaningful for older adults.”
The Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts was established by executive order in April 2017, and one of the council’s recommendations was for Massachusetts to join the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. The Commonwealth entered the network in early 2018 and submitted ReiMAgine Aging, the Massachusetts Age-Friendly action plan, in 2019.
“The work of the Governor’s Council to Address Aging — the listening sessions held across communities, hearing from community leaders and from older people and caregivers — directly informed our decision to make the commitment to enter the Network of Age-Friendly States. It also informed how we developed our plan to do the work,” said Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, who co-chairs the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts. “We are grateful to the many communities and partners who help make Massachusetts a great place to grow older together.”
Added Chen, “each May, we celebrate Older Americans Month. This year’s theme — Communities of Strength — is fitting for this moment. It has not been an easy year for anyone, especially older adults. But as much as this has been a challenging time, our communities have come together to demonstrate the power of collective resilience and the importance of building community.”